Village Volunteer Health Advocate Program

By Jina Taub

Have you ever left your doctor’s office not sure of what steps to take next? Ever felt your concerns were not heard by medical professionals? Or maybe you could just use a helping hand with making appointments and navigating the health system?

The Village is piloting a new volunteer health advocate (VHA) program for all Village members. Members responded to the 2015 Village survey expressing interest in receiving assistance with medical or health issues which have not historically been offered by the Village. The Village board and staff took this information to heart and have worked hard to create a volunteer health advocate program, and are hopeful that it will be a valued service for members and volunteers alike.

What is a health advocate?
A health advocate is someone who provides support and assistance for a person in navigating and understanding the health care system in order to meet their health care needs.

WASHAAWho is a Village health advocate?
VHAs are Village volunteers who have completed several hours of health advocacy training, through the Washington State Health Advocacy Association (WASHAA) are are dedicated to helping members with health and medical needs. VHAs do not necessarily have a medical background, nor are they medical professionals. To date, we have seven volunteers who have completed the training.

What does a Village health advocate do?
Some activities a VHA can do include:
•   Attending medical appointments and taking notes
•   Helping to make medical appointments
•   Helping to organize personal medical information
•   Supporting you in your health care goals and needs

What doesn’t a Village health advocate do?
•   Does not give medications
•   Does not perform any medical procedures
•   Does not give any medical advice

How can I request a Village health advocate?
If you are interested in learning more about the VHA program, or requesting services, please contact Jina, Alex, or Rebecca in the Village office by phone (206.789.1217) or by email:

Thank you for your interest in this program. I hope to together we continue develop a volunteer health advocate program that is beneficial and meaningful to members in our community.

·     ·     ·

Jina Taub

Author Jina Taub is a PNA Village volunteer and registered nurse (RN). Jina is the volunteer program manager for the Village health advocate program. Seven Village volunteers recently completed the program’s first volunteer training session.



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Enjoying a Parade With Less Hassle

Greenwood Seafair via Seattle Times

By Alyssa McFarland

Do you enjoy a parade? Perhaps you used to go to the Seafair parade or Fremont Solstice Parade, but now it seems like too much trouble? Annoyed by the crowds and the sun in your eyes? Since my daughter is a member of a drill team, I went to a lot of parades last summer and now feel qualified to help you get the most out of any parade you attend.

  • The best place to sit is by the judges’ stand. This is where any group in the parade who has an act to perform will be strutting their stuff. You’ll get the most entertainment value for your time by sitting here, because otherwise you might find all those drill teams, drum lines, comedy skits, and dance troupes just marching on by you. The judges’ stand is typically near the middle of any parade route, and is demarcated by a tent or canopy or a raised platform of some kind. If you are coming close to the start of the parade, you’ll know the judges’ stand by listening for the sound of the announcer’s voice. During the parade, you can learn more about each group that passes by listening to what the announcer has to say about them.
  • If it’s an evening parade like our Greenwood Seafair parade, put out a seat early if you can, like by noon at the latest. Think about where the sun will be when you will be there, so you can avoid having the sun right in your eyes. Put your name on your chair with a Sharpie pen. I’ve been leaving my chair out for years and it’s always there for me later.
  • Dress in layers, as it can be sweltering at the beginning and quite cool by the end. Put on sunblock if you are sensitive to the sun. And don’t forget your sun hat and sun glasses.
  • If you’re like me and base your activities around bathroom availability, you should know there are normally portable toilets at parades. If this doesn’t appeal to you, some stores and restaurants are gracious enough to open their facilities to the crowd. In Greenwood, you can count on Fred Meyer to have its doors open for you, and Fred Meyer is typically where the judges’ stand is too…bonus!

The next parade in our neighborhood is the 65th Annual Greenwood Seafair Parade, July 22, 2015 from 6-8:30pm. This year’s theme is “Don’t Rain on My Parade”. The parade route is Greenwood Avenue between N 95th & N 85th, then west to 6th Ave NW.

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Book Review: “Share the Care”

SHARE THE CARE: How to Organize a Group to Care for Someone Who Is Seriously Ill (Revised and Updated), by Cappy Capossela & Sheila Warnock
(Touchstone, 2004)
Share the Care

By Alyssa McFarland

Have you ever needed to provide help to a friend or family member with a serious illness or injury? Did you feel overwhelmed and resentful, and then felt guilty about those feelings, but felt if you didn’t help, no one else would? Have you ever been unable to do things for yourself because of serious illness or injury, and felt worried because relying on random people, busy friends and family was kind of like having holes in your security blanket?

Caregiving groups to the rescue!

The book, Share the Care, is a remarkable achievement. It was written by two women who were part of a caregiving team for a mutual friend who had cancer. They have group caregiving down to a system, and share their system with readers in this book and on their website,

Through the power of using the group so that no one burns out, the Share the Care system helps you do everything from navigate the medical maze to fixing up your sick friend’s room. Whether you or your friend has a terminal illness or just need help for a couple of months after hip surgery, the authors have thought through virtually all the various tasks that might need done for an ill person. They provide forms that members can fill out detailing their skills and availability, and explain how to run the initial meeting that gets everyone on board with the concept of sharing the care, and much more.

I’d recommend it to anyone, even if aren’t convinced you’ll ever need it, because it is thought provoking and full of good ideas.


Find this book!

Seattle Public Library: (Not currently available)

Indie Bound:


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Poem by A. B. McFarland

There is a thread

that reaches back

through the needle-eye of history


and forward

toward tomorrow’s beyond.

It connects all those present

in the now

with the ancient people

who wanted so very much to help us


our best selves

that they left pages and sayings;


for us children.

Now grown, we feel how close the thread’s end

is to our fingertips.

We wake up —


now we know

why our elders spent nights telling yarns by candlelight,

and sunlit days showing us how to tie knots.

Consider how you might take the hand of someone

newer to this world than yourself

and be a guide

for the benefit of


before the end —

worn and frayed

slips through the hole where you once were.

·    ·    ·

A. B. McFarland is a PNA Village member and volunteer. She has recently written a novel, Pieces of Home, in which a poet loses her home to a house fire, ends up living with a family she barely knows, and lives are changed in the process. It is available at Couth Buzzard and

Poem originally published on A. B. McFarland’s blog here.

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Pssst….Need a Cat Whisperer?

English tabby cat from Wikipedia

By Liz Bjorkman

Among the many vetted vendors on a list maintained by the PNA Village Business Referral Committee, there is one that you might not think about on a routine basis. However, if you have a cat, you should know about a fellow named Zack. Zack has been called the “Cat Whisperer” due to his special affinity for cats and because he just seems to speak their language. This gifted man can help you carry out your veterinarian’s instructions to give your cat a pill or even give your cat a subcutaneous injection. He can take your furry creature to a vet appointment and back if you cannot. He can also take care of your cat when you travel.

If you’d like to know more about Zack’s services—or any of the vetted vendors on the Preferred Vendor list—please call the PNA Village Office (206.789.1217).

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Reading for the Weary

antique books By Alyssa McFarland

Some days (or months, or years) you just can’t summon the energy to actually read a book, and it makes you melancholy, because reading is something you really enjoy. Maybe it’s just a temporary condition for you – you’re ill or just had surgery, perhaps – and you know your love for reading will return eventually. Or maybe this weariness for reading has been going on for a long time. If you’re like me, you occasionally go through phases where reading seems to take too much brain power. But still…books call to you, like needy kittens and puppies, begging for your attention.

So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Books on tape can be especially helpful when your eyes are tired or just not working as well as they used to. You can relax, even lie down, and listen to someone else read to you.
  • A change of genre might be what you need. For example, if you read history books, try a little poetry. Or instead of fantasy, try a how-to book.
  • Revisit some of your favorite books from an earlier era of your life. Even making a list of, say, the books you read when you were a teenager, could be inspiring.
  • Children’s books aren’t only for children. Whether it’s picture books or chapter books for a younger audience, you can find some top quality entertainment in books geared toward a younger audience.
  • You could skip words entirely and indulge in some art books or coffee table books with great photos of places you have never been or would like to visit someday.
  • Get out of the house and browse the shelves of your local library, bookstore, or museum gift shop. Visit an art gallery and see if any of the paintings inspire you to learn about the lives of the artists, or a different place or time.
  • Clear your head by taking some time to watch the clouds, birds, and squirrels in your neighborhood.

Taking a vacation from your usual reading habits might be just what the doctor ordered!

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Winter 2015 “Connections”

Connections Winter 2015

Our Winter 2015 PNA Village Connections newsletter is now available!  Great articles in this issue include:

  • Preventing Falls: A Matter of Balance
  • Fall 2014 Potluck and Sing-a-long
  • Member Services Support Team is Here to Help
  • Piano Benefit Concert
  • Home for Christmas: At the GSC!
  • My Green Lake Story
  • PNA Village Vetted Vendor Message
  • Quarterly Stats

…as well as informational flyers from Era Living and the Greenwood Senior Center.

If you’re not getting our quarterly “PNA Village Connections” newsletter, please call the PNA Village office at 206.789.1217 or email You may request a paper copy (sent USPS) and/or email.  You may also view our newsletter in a browser:

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Book Review: “Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat”

Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat | Miyoko Ihara

みさおとふくまる – Misao to Fukumaru
(Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat), by Miyoko Ihara
(Tōkyō : Ritorumoa, 2011)

Review by Hank.

book coverThe Internet and cats. Apparently, it’s a thing.

There is Maru (まる) of the 200 million+ views on YouTube. There is Grumpy Cat®: “The World’s Grumpiest Cat”. There is ScarfaceLil BUB the “perma-kitten”, and Colonel Meow: Entertainer. Locally, there’s Cooper: Photographer Cat, and Henri: Le Chat Noir. There are LOLcats, animated GIFs, and countless associated posters, t-shirts, plushies, coffee mugs, books and calendars.

Until now, none of these cybercats have ensnared me—okay, I dig Henri, but we share a vet—until Misao to Fukumaru. I discovered this little gem of a book via one of those dreaded chain email forwards. You know that email.

Maneki Neko Fukumaru! (Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features)

Maneki Neko Fukumaru!

But what a great discovery!

Photographer Miyoko Ihara (伊原 美代子) began making photos of her grandmother Misao in 2003 as a way of documenting her grandmother’s life. In 2006, Misao found a white kitten abandoned on her property, which she named Fukumaru, or as Ihara explains, “in hope the God of fuku (good fortune) comes and everything will be smoothed over like maru (circle).” The two have been inseparable ever since.

Fukumaru is so happy and contented at my grandmother’s side. When I take a picture of the two of them together it’s like I’m photographing myself as a little girl.

(Photo: Miyoko Ihara |Rex Features)

This Japanese photo book really needs no translation. There’s so much personality, love, and humor in these images, I immediately flipped the book over and went through it again.

Through this collection of images, we’re also given a peek into a more rural side of Japanese life. Though the Chiba Prefecture where Misao lives isn’t far outside of Tokyo, it seems worlds away. Similarly, Misao is ageless in her garden and orchard, even as the photographs document many years of birthdays and daily moments with her beloved cat.

As Ihara notes on, “When I see the way my grandmother is living her life, I really feel that she has a kind of strength that my generation simply can’t match. She gets up with the sun, and goes to bed when it sets. She loves her cat and the vegetables in her field like her own children. If her vegetables come out well, she’s happy. She doesn’t have to worry about questions like ’what is the point of my work?’ Her way of life fills me with admiration and a sort of envy.”

This is the second of two small books’ worth of photos of Misao and Fukumaru. Many of the images are available to view online (see links below), but this makes a great gift and/or coffee table book for almost anyone on your holiday list—even curmudgeonly old dogs.

Pick this book up. It might just make your day!

Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

Miyoko Ihara Rex Features

Cherry Blossom Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

"Tea" by Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

"Fukumaru" by Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

Misao Ihara by Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features


Find this book!

Seattle Public Library:



Misao & Fukumara on Facebook:

Miyoko Ihara’s website:

Related titles

Ihara’s first book: “Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat, Goodbye, Hello”

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“Generation Nice” at Herkimer Coffee

"The Millenials" by Bon Duke © The New York Times

“The Millenials” (Bon Duke © 2014 The New York Times Company)

By Dick Gillett

A few weeks ago, as I reported to my regular coffee hangout at Herkimer Coffee, on Greenwood and 74th, Josh, the barista greeted me as I put in my usual order for a macchiato.

“How are you, Dick?” he asked.

“Terrible,” I responded. I’d just finished reading the morning papers, their headlines proclaiming depressing news the world over.

“That was your mistake,” he responded cheerily.

·    ·    ·

Since my wife and I arrived in Seattle in 2007, I’ve been going to Herkimer’s for my morning macchiato at least three times a week, and a good part of the reason I go is the baristas who work there. To a person they are cheerful, upbeat and just plain nice. Most are “millennials”, born between about 1980 and 2000, although a few are “Gen Xers”, born from the early 1960s to about 1980.

At about the same time Josh joked with me about the news, a prominent story titled “Generation Nice” in the New York Times made me think of this barista crew at Herkimer’s. In the few minutes conversation affords while your coffee is made I’ve learned a surprising amount about them over time. As a member of the so-called “Greatest Generation” (putting me in my 80s), I’m interested in building bridges between generations. We of Planet Earth are going to have to make it together or not at all.

So here’s a glimpse of their thoughts and aspirations, mundane and otherwise.

One early conversation I had with Josh, for example, touched on the 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard we both knew.

Then there is Chad, a UW grad with a master’s degree in sculpture, who wears T-Shirts that frequently prompt you to ask about them. Recently one bore just the word “Claptrap”, so I asked him what it meant.

“It’s the name of a “fictional, 1920s-era robotic band.”

O ka-a-a-y.

Then we have Cassidy, a serious musician whose indie rock band Pickwick appeared on stage this summer at Benaroya Hall with another group, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and the Seattle Symphony! And Jay, who is studying at Seattle U. for a masters degree in music administration.

Also in the arts is Janelle, an anthropology major who became seriously interested in Arab music and dance. This in turn has informed her of the great importance of valuing Arab culture and history, and she’s been twice to Egypt. She also dances and teaches dance.

Marisa was a Spanish major at UW (we have practiced Spanish occasionally). Her plans are to complete the prerequisites for a degree in occupational therapy. And Elaine, the manager, has worked for Herkimer’s for six years and likes the coffee business as a profession. She also has her bachelor’s degree.

Finally, Erin is a writer on food issues. She’s soon leaving Herkimer’s to work as assistant web editor at Yes! Magazine. She recently reviewed a conference convened in South America for subsistence farmers at high altitudes, whose crops are becoming at risk due to global climate change.

At my age I may not be alone in thinking the world is going to hell in a hand basket; that we of the generations preceding have left an awful, awful mess. I sense that these Herkimer millennials and Gen Xers know that. Yet they are smart and cheerful, and appear to have a sense of where they are going.

Maybe we are going to make it!

·    ·    ·

Author Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village and a retired Episcopal priest. His previous article, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”, was published August 26, 2014.

“The Millennials Are Generation Nice” by Sam Tanenhaus, published August 15, 2014 by The New York Times.

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Introducing Our New AmeriCorps Volunteer

Amanda Walker

By Amanda Walker

My name is Amanda Walker. I am the new AmeriCorps, PNA Village Volunteer Coordinator. In this position I will be reaching out to you with opportunities for helping with on-going Village programs and events. Additionally I will be developing a new Fall Prevention program to be presented in the winter and spring.

Since moving to Seattle from Fort Lauderdale two years ago, I have been working in various administrative roles, most recently at our local PBS station, KCTS 9, as a receptionist and office assistant. I attained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University in 2011, and I am now pursuing my Master of Public Administration degree at Seattle University.

During my time as an undergraduate, I was a member of the national service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Leadership, Friendship, and Service are the core principals of APO, and it has been my goal to continue to live and work by these principals. This is my first AmeriCorps position and I look forward to learning as much as possible and serving in this role.

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering at the Jet City Improv Theater and enjoying the arts of Seattle with my boyfriend, Jimmy Avery, an MBA student at Seattle Pacific University. On many days you’ll find us walking around Green Lake and enjoying the local cuisine.

I look forward to serving in my community. If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at or 206.789.1217.

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